Most people love fragrant flowers. Who doesn’t want to take in the sweet smell of a lily or antique perfume of a rose? Scents are one of the gifts plants give us. They add to our sensory world. They, more than taste or sight or sound or touch, take us to a time in our lives of memory. Vivid memory. So what if there were a flower whose scent was dangerous? What if there were a scent whose inhalation caused one to lose a memory? Two summer ago, I kept thinking about these questions. I couldn’t get them from my mind. I was obsessed with the idea of a flower whose scent you can’t inhale. Thus, I started forming my novel The Forgetting Flower in my mind.
Where Did It Come From?
While I detailed the qualities of this forbidden flower in my head (more on that in a future post), I also wondered where that flower might show up: in a garden, in a commercial grower’s nursery? A garden might be unlikely as anyone who grew the flower outdoors would be subject to its scent. Would they experience memory loss randomly and constantly? That was a messy idea. If the flower showed up in a nursery that meant a grower would have had to breed it and that was also a complex issue. Perhaps, even a scientific one I wasn’t ready to explain in a novel. Also, I wasn’t sure why a breeder would breed such a flower unless its dangerous scent was an accidental outcome.
The Dream of a Plant Shop
Meanwhile, plant shops were on my mind. I’ve always admired entrepreneurs who own their own gardening shops. They are the kings and queens of their little fiefdoms. They surround themselves with these green growing sculptures, they choose what to spotlight, they take care of their alive pets, they make customers happy, and most of all, unlike me, they don’t do that much physical gardening work. I had this idea that plant shops were a heavenly place to work. As an owner, you’re in control, you’re not a slave to the hard labor of gardening, and you get to have fun in creating a lush sanctuary for customers.
So I decided to place my amnesiac flower plant in a plant shop. But who would sell that plant and how would the person have obtained it in the first place? And what if the shop wasn’t a heavenly place to work but a dark burden? These were the questions I needed answers to. I’ll cover what I decided next week in Part 2 on the origins of The Forgetting Flower.
If you’re interested in my other novels, please check out my posts on Why I Wrote a Novel About a Weird Apple.